The importance of continuous adaption was outlined by Hollywood actor Paul Rudd during a fireside chat at the Akamai Edge Live virtual conference. These insights have relevance to the cybersecurity industry as it pivots to the huge environmental changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rudd has taken on a vast range of acting roles during his career, ranging from theater to comedy to more recently, becoming a superhero in the Marvel movies.

It was perhaps his decision to join the Marvel universe as Ant-Man in 2015 that was the biggest challenge, forcing him to step well and truly outside of his comfort zone. “I’d never been to a Comic-Con in my life,” he explained. “I had to go to one in San Diego when they announced Ant-Man and I did the panel with the Avengers. To go to a Comic-Con with the Avengers is like going to a music convention with the Beatles; I’d never seen fandom like that.”

Entering a completely new environment in which fans (or customers) have different expectations and needs, has big parallels with the security industry this year given the dramatic shift to remote working as a result of COVID-19. For example, organizations are increasingly finding that the traditional perimeter approach to security is no longer viable, with staff and corporate devices no longer operating across a single network.

This scenario was of course brought about by circumstances that no one could have predicted, and in many ways, that’s how Rudd’s career has panned out. It was always his intention to act, having attended an acting school, yet there was no script for the journey he has ended up taking. “Nothing ever happens like you think it’s going to happen,” he outlined.

From initially focusing on theater work, he explained how playing in the comedy film Wet Hot American Summer began a snowballing effect which led to roles in iconic comedies such as the film Anchorman and hit TV series Friends.

As with most industries, the media and entertainment sector has had to pivot enormously in the face of social distancing restrictions this year. While disruptive, Rudd believes many of these, such as the much greater use of video calls and the ability to work from home (for Rudd, doing voiceovers from his closet), is here to stay and will enhance people’s lives over the long term. He commented: “I was able to do things I never thought I’d be able to do and I hope some of those things stay. You adapt and soldier on.”

It is this willingness to adapt that needs to be embraced by cybersecurity professionals. It seems certain that remote working will be much more prevalent going forward, and there are huge benefits to individuals and businesses alike in doing so. Securing this new environment is therefore an opportunity as much as it is a challenge.

Akamai VP Ross Feinberg concluded: “Adapting to change can be painful at times, but as Paul said, we need to be able to turn on a dime, and that’s true in business as well as in our personal lives. With that willingness to adapt, maybe we’ll all discover some superpowers we never knew we had.”